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In what has been described as an accidental disclosure, messages embedded within a report released last week by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic include an admission by Dr. Anthony Fauci that gain-of-function research was being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The leaked messages also include Slack conversations between several scientists who co-authored “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” (“Proximal Origin”), a scientific article that concluded SARS-CoV-2 was “not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” The conversations revealed that the scientists had discussed the possibility that the virus did in fact originate in a lab.
“Proximal Origin” was published in Nature Medicine on March 17, 2020, and according to The Intercept, “played a leading role in creating a public impression of a scientific consensus that the virus had emerged naturally in a Chinese ‘wet market.’”
According to the Daily Wire, the messages were likely “accidentally disclosed” due to “faulty image cropping” in the report originally released by the committee. The previously redacted portions support the the report’s conclusion that the paper “was a product of politics and deception rather than honest scientific rigor” and a “conspiracy to cover up the likely origins of COVID-19.”
The 55-page House interim report, released July 11, followed the committee’s “comprehensive investigation into the suppression of the lab-leak hypothesis by America’s leading public health officials through the drafting, publication and critical reception of the infamous ‘The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2’ (‘Proximal Origin’) publication.”
After the embedded images were discovered by online researchers and an published by The Epoch Times and others, the committee removed the original report from its website, replacing it with a new file that omitted the embedded images.
However, online researchers salvaged the original version of the report and have posted it online, along with instructions on how to locate and view the embedded content.
The first version of the recent report:by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, “The Proximal Origin of a Cover-Up: Did the “Bethesda Boys” Downplay a Lab Leak: Interim Majority Staff Report July 11, 2023” contained extra information which is not visible in the… pic.twitter.com/9o523UG72P
— Robin Whittle (@RobinWhittle3) July 14, 2023
These revelations contradict previous testimony by Fauci and two of the co-authors of “Proximal Origin.” Scientific and medical experts who spoke with The Defender said the latest revelations confirm long-held suspicions.
Cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough told The Defender:
“The evidence indicates Fauci, Francis Collins, Kristian Andersen, Edwin Holmes, and a cadre of scientists understood that Dr. Ralph Baric, the NIAID [National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases] under Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ph.D. at EcoHealth Alliance and Shi Zhengli, Ph.D. at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had created a prototype SARS-CoV-2 chimeric virus and published this accomplishment in 2015 in two papers (Nature, PNAS).
“Understanding he played a role in the creation of a global security crisis, Fauci conspired to cover up this atrocity with a government narrative and a series of fraudulent papers proclaiming the virus did not come out of the lab. This is intentional fraud as plain as day.”
Collins is the former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., is a professor of immunology and microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute and Edward Holmes, Ph.D. is a professor of virology at Australia’s University of Sydney. Andersen and Holmes were among the co-authors of “Proximal Origin.”
“The released messages make it clear that Andersen and Garry made knowingly and willfully false statements in their February 2020 preprint, their March 2020 published paper, their 2020-2023 press comments, their 2020-2023 social media posts and their 2023 Congressional testimony.
“The released messages also make it clear that Fauci, Collins and Jeremy Farrar, Ph.D. prompted and orchestrated the false statements.
“The released messages provide a rare glimpse of the ‘Proximal Origins’ fraudsters speaking truthfully, and explicitly contradicting their false claim that ‘Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.’”
Francis Boyle, J.D., Ph.D., a bioweapons expert and professor of international law at the University of Illinois who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, said “Fauci and Collins must be held criminally responsible for all of this.”
‘Fauci lied, people died’
Under the headline “Dr. Fauci Lied, People Died,” Justin Hart, author of the “Rational Ground” Substack, presented the unredacted version of a Feb. 1, 2020, email from Fauci, “which has been haunting many of us for over two years.”
The email was one of the documents that was apparently mistakenly embedded in the House committee’s report last week.
A heavily redacted version of the email, with only the text “Folks: The call with Jeremy Farrar (Wellcome Trust)” visible, was made available in September 2022, following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted by U.S. Right to Know.
However, the full unredacted version of the email was embedded within the original file containing the committee’s July 11 interim report.
According to Hart, “The unredacted version email is an astounding indictment of how disingenuous Dr. Fauci has been and a keen example on how his team at the NIH and NIAID have abused the redaction process.”
In the email, Fauci apparently referred to a Feb. 1, 2020, conference call with Farrar, Collins and several of the scientists who later co-authored “Proximal Origin.” In his message, he apparently acknowledged that gain-of-function research was being conducted at the WIV.
“They were concerned about the fact that upon viewing the sequences of severaisolates of the nCoV, there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted.
“The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan.”
Fauci lied and people died.
New unredacted email is dropping jaws. Fauci admits that Wuhan was doing gain of function research. pic.twitter.com/1tR5R8TTpS
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) July 14, 2023
This contradicts prior statements and testimony made by Fauci. In May 2021, Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that NIAID — an arm of the NIH — had never funded gain-of-function research at the WIV or elsewhere.
In January 2022, revelations by Project Veritas showed the NIH, NIAID and EcoHealth Alliance proceeded with gain-of-function research at the WIV and several U.S. labs, even though the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency rejected the proposal over safety concerns and because it violated the then-moratorium on such research.
In March, the committee released findings that “Fauci “prompted” the drafting of “Proximal Origin” and that its authors “skewed available evidence to achieve that goal.”
That month, Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appeared before the same House committee, testifying that he had “no doubt” that the NIH and Fauci funded gain-of-function research that likely resulted in the creation of COVID-19 and its subsequent leak.
“I had to double check the source and the context of this email before I believed it,” Hart wrote, referring to the Feb. 1, 2020, Fauci email. “The language is so forthright and so contrasting to previous testimony given by Dr. Fauci it almost seems a fake. But there it is in black-and-white.”
Also remarking on the email, Boyle told The Defender:
“Redfield admitted that they all knew there was an ‘incident/accident’ at the Wuhan BSL4 in September 2019.
“All Tony Fauci and Francis Collins had to do was type in ‘Wuhan’ into their computers and the existentially dangerous project that NIAID and NIH were funding at the University of North Carolina BSL3 with Ralph Baric and the Chinese Bat Queen [Shi] from the Wuhan BSL4 on manufacturing the offensive biological warfare weapon with gain-of-function properties later called COVID-19 would have come up. I am sure they did.
“Fauci and Collins then immediately acted to lie about it and to cover it all up because they were paying for COVID-19 to be developed.”
According to The Epoch Times, the hidden content in the July 11 version of the committee’s report was discovered by researcher Francisco de Asís de Ribera, who noticed that the file “contained cropped images of text messages which, if uncropped, reveal a much larger collection of messages.”
The existence of the hidden content in the original version of the report — even if it was only visible with a bit of technical sleuthing — has led to questions about the true intentions of the committee, including speculation that the committee, far from truly investigating figures like Fauci, is protecting them.
And if you were wondering whether Republicans reuploaded a new version of their report without the juicy text messages, they did. @RepBradWenstrup why are you protecting Fauci’s gang of fraudsters? pic.twitter.com/rPQDg4Zokz
— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) July 12, 2023
“It isn’t clear whether House Republicans used cropped images in their report or whether they intended to withhold the additional text messages for future release,” The Epoch Times reported.
According to the Daily Wire, the embedded files may have been divulged in an “attempt at softening the blow to the scientists.”
‘The truth is never going to come out, if lab escape is the truth’
Several other emails were included within the embedded content, as well as messages from a Slack group by the authors of the “Proximal Origin” paper.
The Slack messages were sent between Feb. 2 and Feb. 6, 2020. According to The Epoch Times, this was after a Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference with the goal of “developing a plan to counter the lab leak theory and promote the natural origin narrative.”
This is the craziest thing I’ve seen in a long while. I said earlier today that the two Slack messages on Covid origin released by GOP ended all debate.
— Hans Mahncke (@HansMahncke) July 12, 2023
Other embedded documents contradict testimony given by two of the co-authors of “Proximal Origin,” Andersen and Robert F. Garry, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane School of Medicine. before the committee on July 11.
According to the Daily Mail, the other co-authors of the paper also were invited to testify before the committee, but only Andersen and Garry did so.
The Intercept reported that “The authors have said, and repeated during Tuesday’s hearing, that new data had changed their minds” and that “Fauci and Collins had no role in influencing” the “Proximal Origin” paper. Yet, “the new Slack messages and emails show that their initial inclination toward a lab escape remained long past that time.”
In a Feb. 5, 2020, message, Andersen wrote: “the idea of engineering and bioweapon is definitely not going away and I’m still getting pinged by journalists.”
“I have noticed some of them starting to ask more broadly about ‘lab escape’ and for now I have just ignored them — there might be a time where we need to tackle that more directly head on, but I’ll let the likes of Jeremy and Tony figure out how to do that,” he added.
In another message, Holmes wrote, “Anyway, it’s done. Sorry the last bit had to be done without you…pressure from on high,” alluding to the involvement and oversight of Fauci and Collins in the drafting of the “Proximal Origin” paper.
“Taken as a whole, the messages undercut the claims that the NIH took a hands-off approach to the paper,” The Intercept wrote.
Other messages indicate that Andersen and some of the other co-authors privately believed the “lab-leak theory” had credibility, even as their paper aimed to disprove this.
“The main issue is that accidental escape is in fact highly likely — it’s not some fringe theory,” Andersen wrote in a Feb. 2, 2020, Slack message.
“I absolutely agree that we can’t prove one way or the other, but we never will be able to — however, that doesn’t mean that by default the data is currently much more suggestive of a natural origin as opposed to e.g. passage,” Andersen said in the same message. Here, “passage” refers to the laboratory manipulation of viruses.
Gain-of-function research ‘completely nuts’ at BSL3 or less labs
Another message by Andersen referred to gain-of-function research conducted at the WIV while indicating that scientists working there were able to manipulate such viruses. “For the SARS GOF [gain-of-function] studies, they created a reverse genetics system for their bat virus on a whim.”
Indeed, Andersen acknowledged in his Slack messages that such research and experiments were “exceptionally dangerous” and that “It only takes one mistake.”
In one message, Andersen said it would be “completely nuts” to perform gain-of-function experiments at any “BSL3 or less” laboratory. The Epoch Times noted that the WIV “conducted its coronavirus experiments at biosafety level 2, which is akin to the biosafety level of a dentist’s office.”
In another message, Andersen, referring to papers written by WIV scientists, said he found it “strange” that a virus with characteristics most closely related to COVID-19 had been found 800 miles away from Wuhan, in the Yunnan province of China, writing:
“Do we have any location information on the bat SARS-like viruses? … I believe RaTG13 is from Yunnan, which is about as far away from Wuhan as you can be and still be in China. What are the chances of finding viruses that are 96 percent identical given that distance? Seems strange given how many SARS-like viruses we have in bats.”
According to The Intercept, the RaTG13 strain “was later stored and researched at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In response, Andrew Rambaut, Ph.D., a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Edinburgh, U.K. and another of the co-authors of “Proximal Origin,” wrote: “I personally think we should get away from all the strange coincidence stuff. I agree it smells really fishy but without a smoking gun it will not do us any good.”
“The truth is never going to come out (if [lab] escape is the truth),” he added. “Would need irrefutable evidence. My position is that the natural evolution is entirely plausible and we will have to leave it at that. Lab passaging might also generate this mutation but we have no evidence that that happened.”
However, Rambaut conceded that “it would be good idea to lay out these arguments for limited dissemination … so we can learn from it even if it wasn’t an escape.”
Referring to previous scientific papers published by WIV scientists, Andersen wrote:
“The main concern coming up reading through all these papers is the kind of stuff that is being done — getting MERS-like viruses to infect humans, getting SARS-like viruses to cause disease in and infect humans, etc.
“There’s a very strong focus on the spike protein for all of that work.”
According to The Epoch Times, “This statement is notable because it means that Mr. Andersen understood that the pre-pandemic work carried out by the WIV was concentrated on spike proteins, which is the part of the COVID-19 virus that contains its anomalous furin cleavage site. No such site has ever been observed in naturally occurring viruses of this kind.”
In another message, Garry wrote that it was “relatively easy to drop 12 bases in,” referring to the addition of genetic material, including a furin cleavage site, into a virus. “Makes me think the cell culture passage scenario is possible/probably [sic],” he added.
‘Maybe we went a little too far’
Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Fauci continues to publicly promote the “natural” or “zoonotic” theory of COVID-19’s origin, as evidenced by recent statements.
Earlier this month, Fauci told The Daily Mail that the origin of the virus is “still an open question,” adding that “You have to keep an open mind and look at the data. I think the data that has evolved seem to weigh toward it [COVID] being natural.”
And in a statement released Thursday, the EcoHealth Alliance said the committee’s interim report “includes conclusions about the work of the EcoHealth Alliance that are not only inaccurate, but were crafted to appease a stated political motive.”
However, in recent remarks, Garry suggested that the co-authors of “Proximal Origin” may have gone “too far” in attempting to publicly refute the “lab-leak theory.”
“At that point we were still largely under the influence, when that particular sentence was written, with the notion that this may have been a bioengineered virus or maybe a weapon that just sort of accidentally released,” Garry told BBC Radio 4’s “Speaking to Fever: The Hunt for COVID’s Origin” last month.
“Maybe we went a little too far there,” he said.